Memorization Study Guide for McGraw-Hill's Police Officer Exam (page 3)
Memorization is the ability to observe and recall. Although memorization is a straightforward skill, it is the area where law enforcement examinations most differ. Clearly, all agencies use a memorization section to assess an applicant's ability to remember street names, people, geographic areas, business layouts, and other details that a police officer is constantly required to recall.
To assess memorization ability, law enforcement examinations provide pictures or drawings of scenes that could occur in any neighborhood and require the applicant to recall the information provided. These pictures may be provided in the pretest materials packet or in the examination itself. When the pictures or drawings are provided as part of the pretest materials, you will be expected to memorize the scene prior to arriving for the exam. Then, the first portion of the exam will cover your ability to recall the details of the picture(s). It is not unusual for pictures provided in advance to be accompanied by short explanatory paragraphs that provide additional information to clarify the scene. You are required to memorize and recall this information as well.
When the pictures or drawings are provided as part of the exam itself, the process of memorization is slightly different. Typically, you are given a 5- to 15-minute period to study the picture (the study period). You are not allowed to make any marks on the picture, use scratch paper to make notes about the picture, or do anything else during the study period. At the completion of the study period, the pictures are turned back in to the proctor. This is followed by a 5- to 15-minute period during which you are to retain the information (the holding period). Again, you are not allowed to use scratch paper or make notes of any kind during this period; rather, you are expected to sit and mentally review the information in preparation for answering any questions. After that, you are given the questions associated with the picture.
One technique for memorizing the details provided in a scene is summarized in the acronym EASE. The EASE method encourages an organized process of memorization, beginning with recognizing the broad theme(s) of the picture and then working down to the details of the picture.
E—Events: Begin by determining what event or events are being presented in the scene. Do not focus on a single event or person, but rather determine all the events being depicted. Use your fingers to assist in tracking the number of events occurring. This provides a tactile means of assisting your memory. Finally, if possible, put the events you see in some order of occurrence.
A—Ask yourself: Who, what, when, where, and how many?
- Determine who is in the picture: police officers, fire fighters, pedestrians, criminals, children, etc.
- Determine what is in the picture: buildings, cars, dogs, street signs, streets, trees, businesses, etc. Signs, such as the name of a street, the place where the scene is occurring, or a number pattern, are often used to provide clues.
- Determine when the scene is occurring: Look for clues about the time of day and the time of year.
- Determine where the scene is taking place: a neighborhood, inside a home, on a busy city street, etc. Also, orient in your mind where in the scene each person or thing is in relation to other people or objects. Determine how many of each object or person are represented in the picture. For example, how many cars were involved in the collision, how many law enforcement officers are at the scene, or how many apartment doors are visible. Again, use your fingers to track the number of each item.
S—Section the scene: Divide the picture into three or four smaller sections and study each one separately. It is usually easier to remember seven or eight details associated with four small scenes, than 28 details associated with one large scene.
E—Express yourself: In addition to using your fingers to provide a tactile method of assisting your memory, say the information to yourself either quietly out loud or in your head. Do not confuse saying the information to yourself with merely thinking about or perceiving the information. Actually forming words about the detail and saying those words to yourself forces your brain to directly focus upon that detail.
Memorization questions may be primarily information, such as the picture and information provided on a "wanted" poster. This information tends to be quite detailed and will usually be presented in a pretest packet to give you adequate time to familiarize yourself with the information so as to be able to recall it quickly.
Memorization questions are typically in multiple-choice format.
Which of the following characteristics DOES NOT describe the suspect?
(A) Brown eyes
(B) Black hair
(C) Age 23
(D) Height 5ft 10in
The correct answer is B. The poster clearly states that the suspect's hair is brown.
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